The American flag is presented in front of an empty Tennessee Titans bench area during the playing of the national anthem before an NFL football game between the Titans and the Seattle Seahawks Sunday, Sept. 24, 2017, in Nashville, Tenn.
The Steelers did not protest the anthem past year and had stayed relatively neutral on the national discussion, but President Donald Trump's verbal attack on NFL players who protest appears to have changed things.
On Friday while delivering a message in Alabama, President Trump caused a storm when he questioned why NFL teams do not fire players who were expressing their rights to freedom of speech by kneeling in protest during national anthems.
They also noted that the decision was made "out of love for our country and in honor of sacrifices made on our behalf".
Today is game day, and we've already seen acts protest on the field. Nearly 30 minutes before kickoff, the Seahawks stated that they would not stand for the national anthem because they "will not stand for the injustice that has plagued people of color in this country". "Our commitment to the military and our community is resolute and the absence of our team for the national anthem shouldn't be misconstrued as unpatriotic", the statement read on the Titans' website.
UPDATE: Sports Illustrated journalist Albert Breer reports that both teams plan to remain in their locker rooms during the anthem. There have been a plethora of protests around the National Football League created to rallying against injustice and inequality.
The players for Tennessee also chose to remain in the locker room.
Both teams released statements announcing the decision and in support of their players.
During the early afternoon NFL games today, the national anthem singer at the Detroit Lions-Atlanta Falcons game kneeled and raised his fist at the end of his performance.